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    Useful Items v.1.0

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    It just doesn't seem right that I'd do a Useless Items post without balancing the see-saw with a Useful Items post. From diaper bags to car seats, there are myriad (I just discovered the proper use of this word and feel the need to use it a couple times so I can make myself feel more educated than I actually am) items that are essential when you are responsible for a baby.

    The Useful Item for today isn't exactly an "item", but I consider it to be very important. And since this is my blog and my rules, I'm using it.


    I don't presume to know how things worked hundreds of years ago when it came to pregnancy. For all I know, the cartoons I watched where right, and babies were delivered to your porch by a stork. What I can tell you is that without pregnancy classes, I'd either be dead (by Sarah's hands, of course) or in a mental institution. The act of labor and birth is very challenging, both mentally and physically. You must prepare your mind to handle the chaos of labor. Had I not prepared my mind for such rigors, my brain quite likely would have shut down, rendering me catatonic. Being in such a state would have infuriated Sarah. If she was too busy to murder me herself - you know, with the whole "labor" thing - she would have ordered our midwife to inject Sodium Thiopental into my veins. Seeing, first-hand, what a woman in labor is capable of while in labor, I know that our midwife would have done as she was told, if for no other reason than to just keep Sarah happy.

    I assumed that Sarah and I would take Lamaze classes to prepare us for labor and birth, if we took any classes at all. To be honest, I never knew there were any other options. To be even more honest, I thought classes would be a waste of time. All Sarah would have to do is say "Hee hee ho" and breathe funny, right? "Classes", I thought, "pish-posh!" All I needed to do was sit next to Sarah, say "just breathe" over and over again, and let her squeeze my hand. Ten minutes later, a baby would come shooting out of her nether regions, the doc would smack his butt, and he'd start crying. Ding, dang, done.

    My ignorance astounds me. It's not my fault that TV and movies lied about labor. According to everything I'd ever seen, the woman goes to the hospital, pushes for a few minutes, screams once or twice, and pops out a baby. The father is either pacing around in the waiting room, or standing next to his wife while she tells him that she hates him because "you did this to me". Listen to me; classes are absolutely necessary. And Lamaze isn't the only option.

    I made it a priority to go to every OB appointment while Sarah was pregnant. I didn't want to miss a thing. All told, I only missed one appointment. And that was because of my own idiocy. Anyway, at one of our appointments, Michelle (our midwife) told us that she thought we would be a great couple for Bradley Classes.

    I couldn't tell you Sarah's reasons for deciding on the Bradley Method. I could give you a laundry list of reasons why I felt that Bradley was the way to go, but there is one that stands out in my head. And it is, by far, the number one reason - for me, at least - that we went with Bradley.

    Simply put, humans are animals. Although we place ourselves as being rulers of the world, superior to all other forms of life, we are still animals. If you were to observe a dog (or another animal) in labor, they go to a den, a private area, and relax. They let their bodies do the work. It's very peaceful, and very beautiful. The Bradley Method is based on that principle.

    The best thing about these classes isn't what you LEARN, but what you GAIN. I learned to help Sarah relax, through visualizations, breathing exercises, and touch. I learned how to react to situations, both normal and unexpected. But what I gained was a greater closeness to Sarah. Had it not been for the classes, not only would I have been unprepared, but Sarah wouldn't have been able to focus on only me and my voice and relax as easily as she did. In the heat of labor, when Sarah was desperate and tired, I wouldn't have known what to do when she said that she didn't care about the effects of drugs on our baby.

    We didn't have the labor of our dreams, but taking Bradley classes made everything manageable. I knew it was all worth it when Sarah said afterward, "I couldn't have done this without you."

    So, men... you owe it to the mother, the baby, and to yourself to know what the heck you're doing in there. Take some classes, and be a part of the birthing process.

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    Tyler, with our Bradley instructor, Erin
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    As a sidenote, I'm not at all trying to "put down" Lamaze. I have no experience with it. We went with the Bradley method, and it worked wonderfully for us. I highly recommend it, but at the end of the day, you have to make the decision that works best for you. I just hope that it's the Bradley method, because it is that awesome. Like I said in the Useless Items post, I'm pretty much the smartest guy I know, so you should listen to me on this one.


    A Free Man said...

    I agree - the vision from TV and movies I had of labor was nothing like reality. But I must say that I didn't remember a thing from our antenatal classes at the time. So, not much use really. They were good for Sinead as she got a chance to meet people in the same predicament and they got together weekly afterwards.

    Erin & The Boys said...

    It makes me happy that you and Sarah got so much out of the classes. I felt like my mission was complete and successful as I read your blog. I love the Bradley Method and I'm glad that you found the love for it as well.


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